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Posted by on Mar 10, 2014 in Everyone Will Eat It | 0 comments

Sunday in the Kitchen: Enchiladas from Scratch

Tonight, I made enchiladas from scratch, and they turned out to be really yum. Mr. J asked me to jot everything down so we can have them again soon. Below you’ll find the spice mix, sauce method, enchilada recipe, and a bonus side idea.

I really like to do a big batch of something on Sundays. It serves two purposes – it gives us time to enjoy a meal together as a family before the craziness of the week starts, and it gets me started off right with either toddler lunches or one less meal to worry about through the week.

It was great to be back in the kitchen…workin’ on something from scratch. Just like the good ole days. At our house, an important part of this meal was toddler wranglin’ by Mr. J while I got everything prepared. Getting dinner on the table isn’t as easy as it used to be, people! (Which explains the lack of picture…sorry!)

Enchilada Sauce Spice Mix

4 tsp chili powder
3 tsp paprika + 1 tsp smoked paprika (or 4 tsp regular, if you don’t have smoked)
4 teaspoons cornstarch
3 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon oregano (or Italian seasoning)
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (based on your taste preferences and how hot your particular bottle of cayenne is)

Add all ingredients to an air-tight container. Shake or stir to combine completely.

To finish the sauce, you’ll need
1 – 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes + scant amount of water

In a small saucepan on low heat, add this entire dry mixture to 1 – 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce. Rinse out the can with a small amount of water to get the last little bit of tomato out and thin the sauce. Whisk the mixture until well incorporated. Keep on low heat until needed.

Notes: This makes a lot of sauce that is thicker than traditional enchilada sauce. That’s how we like it at Chez Ary. We keep it saucy.
Based on this recipe. You can double (or multiply to your heart’s desire) this recipe easily to always have dried mix on hand stored in an air-tight container.

To complete enchiladas, you’ll also need
1 package of 8″ flour tortillas (usually 10 count)
1 lb. ground beef
1 15 oz. can refried beans
To garnish: Cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, cilantro, etc.

Brown 1 lb of ground beef, drain, and add 1 cup of sauce.

Add a little less than 1 cup of sauce to a 9 x 13 in baking pan sprayed with cooking spray.

To assemble: Spread a large spoonful of refried beans in a line on the center of an 8″ tortilla, and put meat on top. Roll up and place in pan. Continue on until pan is full and fillings are used. Add remainder of sauce on top, cheese (if using), and cover with aluminum foil. Place in 350* oven for 20-25 minutes until heated through and cheese is melted. To make this dish dairy-free, I baked without cheese and added it at the plating stage (popped in the microwave to melt before serving).

These beef and bean enchiladas taste great with Spanish rice on the side.

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Posted by on Jun 13, 2013 in Our Favorites | 1 comment

My Strange Addiction


I’m obsessed with these. I know they’re disgusting, but just like hot dogs, I can’t stop myself. I tried some real ones at a gourmet Mexican restaurant in town, and while I loved those too, it’s just not the same. I’ll just sit over here with my 6 cans and await the intervention…

Thanks to Nana D for inspiring all of this. My mom grew up eating tamales with slaw, which I think it strange, but it’s actually a really good combo!

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Posted by on Jun 11, 2013 in Our Favorites | 2 comments

What I’m Eating: Ultimate Cabbage Mix

This recipe is one of my favorites this summer. It’s so easy and versatile. It’s a quick chopped salad with the protein, dressing, and crunch recommendations below. Or it goes well as a side or topping for Asian or Mexican dishes. You can even throw a little mayo in there for a quick slaw.

My favorite part is that it lasts so long. I think I got two weeks out of the last batch I made. It stays much fresher than lettuce, and it makes quite a large quantity. I’m the only one in my house that eats it so I need it to last. I’m on this kick lately with eating veggies in bulk to keep me full. I take a TON with me (probably almost 3 cups) every day for my salad at work. If you don’t have time (or don’t LOVE chopping like me), just get a bag or two more of the pre-cut slaw mix, and you’re good to go.
1 bag of slaw mix (gets you started with red and green cabbage and some carrots, bonus…it’s already chopped)
1 head of savoy or napa cabbage, chopped small (get it at the farmers’ market!)
1 cup matchstick/julienned carrots (about 1/2 of a small bag)
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 bunch celery, chopped
Cucumbers are good with this mix, too, but I like to buy the small ones and chop it fresh for each serving. Cucumber isn’t as hardy as the other ingredients.
Mix all ingredients together in a large covered container. Store in the fridge.
You’re looking for a sesame/ginger dressing. I’ve found a couple of different options for pre-made dressings at my grocery. There’s one in the refrigerated section, but it doesn’t have sesame oil so I just add some in. Publix has one in their premium store brand line that I like that can be found on the bottled dressing aisle. I’ve also eyeballed this recipe, but I’ve gone with the ease of pre-made dressing so far.
Fried slices of tofu
Dina Chicken (I throw about 6 frozen chicken breasts in a crockpot with a full recipe of marinade and crank it up to high for about 3 hours)
Add a little crunch: Sliced almonds, salted peanuts, chow mein noodles, broken up pieces of ramen noodles
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Posted by on Jan 15, 2013 in Everyone Will Eat It | 0 comments

Pizza Pasta

Pizza Pasta

When I first started making this dish, it was crockpot pizza. Then I realized the crockpot aspect wasn’t really necessary, and I wanted put my own twist on the ingredients. So the dish you see in the picture there is like it’s 3 cousin, twice removed (or something). Now, when I tell Mr. J what’s for dinner, I call this “You know that thing that’s like crockpot pizza, but isn’t made in the crockpot…that’s what we’re eating.” So much for brevity?

Here I go again with one of those recipe “concepts.” It doesn’t really have a recipe, and you can do whatever you want. I realize that when you’re first starting out in the kitchen, you HATE this kind of post, but I’m hoping that this will give you an idea.

The base for what’s pictured is Campanelle pasta with a jar of spaghetti sauce and a pound or so of browned ground beef. Then, take your favorite pizza toppings, and bam! it’s pizza pasta. You can use any sauce you want, any pasta you want, and include meat (or not). If you’ve got leftover spaghetti that needs livening up, it’s a perfect candidate, too.

If you’re out of the store-bought stuff, here’s my pizza sauce recipe. You could also use this marinara sauce recipe. Or just open up a can of tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes and throw in some herbs. Easy peasy.

For toppings, go with mushrooms, green peppers, sausage, pepperoni (the mini ones are fun), olives…the possibilities are ENDLESS! I think I’d forego the ham and pineapple on this one though! And don’t forget the cheese! I recommend mozzarella, Parmesan, and feta, if you’re feeling bold! Pop it in the oven for 15 minutes to melt the cheese and bring it all together.

This is a great make-ahead dish. However, we’ve found that the pepperonis turn brown in the leftovers so I make the base without them and add them on as we reheat throughout the week. Of course, you can do this in a large baking dish instead of individual servings. I just wanted to customize ours with our favorite toppings. Hey, that’s a fun party idea…the Super Bowl is just around the corner, you know!


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